Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    I thought Elektra was a way better film than Green Lantern.

    Just putting that pointless fact out there. :p
  2. beccatoria Force Ghost

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    Yeah - it's an interesting one to talk about; apparently all the characters were written without a specific demographic attributes assigned to them and it was left up to the casting directors to choose the actors to play them, including race and gender. So again, not sure how that would fit into "it has to fit the story" since it was essentially deemed superfluous to the story and therefore equally available for male or female actors.
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  3. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Yep -- the established female-lead comics seem to essentially pander to a male audience, and those that don't fail, as Trak said, because males are upset that they don't pander. Or, alternatively, they're written in a way that is pandering because somebody in a board room decided that "X will appeal to female readers" when in reality it doesn't because the target audience can see it as blatant pandering.

    That's not to say that pandering to a male audience doesn't turn people off from those things either (I don't have very kind things to say about fanservice, for instance) but there's considerable market protection for that kind of thing that allows it to continue because it's already profitable.

    Eh, was just following your lead! It's a collaborative effort here in the diversity thread.
  4. jedimaster203 Force Ghost

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    @beccatoria

    I'm not going to respond to your post point for point, because it was way too long and I don't have time :p . I think that you've got some sort of impression that I'm pissed about females in media or something. As I said when I responded to Jello, my point of contention in this entire issue is that creators are being told they have to create female characters. I think it represents a loss of freedom and creativeness in media.

    I think we can look at somebody like Joss Whedon or Gail Simone and see that women do have a place in SF/F, and that creators play a vital role in bringing them in. Buffy is a good story because Joss Whedon was passionate about writing the story. If he had been forced to do that, I think it would have just felt like he phoned it in. On the flip side, I recognize that a talented creator can breathe life into any character, but the passion has to be there for that to happen.

    Your response was thought provoking. It made me thing "Why am I coming off as sexist? I love and respect women." Not to pull the "my best friend is black card", but I actually do respect women a lot more than men in most cases. I think I come off as sexist/racist because people think I'm criticizing the practice of bringing minorities into the genre. I also think, specifically in terms of diversity, that there is a "with me or against me" mentality. I say something questioning the motives of including female characters, and it gets turned into questioning including them in general. I just want the female characters to be good, well thought out characters that happen to be women, as opposed to a department store manniquin put there to look pretty and make angry bloggers shut up. As I said, I want people that my daughter can look up to, the same way I did with Luke Skywalker or Obi-wan Kenobi. I don't think that demanding quality over quanity makes me sexist, and I do appologize if it seems that way.

    Also, I'm notoriously poorly-spoken and don't make points well, so...uh..I swear I have nothing against women. :D

    Edit: Can't spell.
    Last edited by jedimaster203, Dec 5, 2012
  5. beccatoria Force Ghost

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    @jedimaster203

    As I said, I'm sure that's not how you order your internal world and you're not behaving with any intentionally harmful goals. I'm glad that my post was thought-provoking rather than simply infuriating, although I do feel a little like the point was missed?

    My goal was to highlight the double-standard in questioning the motives of including female characters when similar male characters would not be questioned in the same way. That is detrimental to their inclusion and does not create an atmosphere where creativity thrives.

    I still don't actually think that creators are being forced, en masse, to create female characters, because if they were, we'd have more of them. I would ask for examples where you know this has happened as opposed to your perception that this might have happened. I'd also ask whether in those examples, it actually did create an objectively poor character, or if the character created was still a quality creation who could have a positive effect on the media landscape in which she exists.

    I'm not asking these questions because I think you are upset by the notion of women on your telly - I know you're not. I'm asking them in an attempt to query whether you are responding to what's happening or to a biased view of what's happening based on a lifetime of socialisation and education about how to look at this sort of thing.
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  6. Robimus Force Ghost

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    First I wasn't specifically expecting you to respond, at least not last night. I took a great deal of time to edit my post and after I was done the edit the topic was already on the next page so I felt that people missed what I was trying to say. It had nothing to do with you specifically.

    Thats something we don't have control over though. It doesn't seem to have much to do with a Hollywodd producer green lighting or not green lighting a film though.

    Marketing is certainly a part if this but did Catwoman or Elektra get more marketing muscle thrown behind them than Resident Evil or Underworld did? If what your saying is true I don't see how some film succeed, while others fail.

    I think your likely onto something with the lack of female super hero films(though do note that within those past eight years there were plans for Wonder Woman & She Hulk films that didn't pan out).

    Perhaps I'm just not understanding what point your trying to make. All I'm getting is that Catwoman, despite being a financial flop, should get a second chance if Green Lantern, a financial success, gets that same chance. I also don't feel that Catwoman or Elektra are quite on the same level as Superman overall, so again the comparison to Superman returns, to me doesn't fit at all. Superman is a much more marketable property than Elektra is.

    I don't get this line at all. Clearly Hollywood is making adventure films with female leads, maybe not as many as men get, and marketing budgets for those films are not small. Look recent films/franchsies likeHunger Games or Twilight or Underworld or Resident Evil or Scream - those are all franchises that have large advertising budgets and are marketed to both male and female audiences - all films with female leads.

    I'm not trying to attack you, or even really disprove your arguement, I just don't understand what your arguement is when it comes to this Green Lantern vs Catwoman discussion. If your sole point is that there are not enough superhero films with female leads then I agree with you, past that I can't say I agree with some of you views.
    Last edited by Robimus, Dec 5, 2012
  7. beccatoria Force Ghost

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    Okay, I'm gonna focus on this part of your post because I think it's a good summary of the issues here. Because yeah, I think you've missed what I'm saying.

    the point isn't that there are no successful female-anchored film franchises, or the reasons why a small group succeed when others fail, or about comparing any two specific films and then duelling over which contexts we should apply in which way.

    The point isn't even that Catwoman should have gotten a sequel, it shouldn't, it was awful. The point is, when Catwoman fails, the response isn't, "it failed because the script sucked," the response is, "it failed because women can't anchor action films."

    The Punisher is probably a good example of this - he's a mid-tier superhero who has, nonetheless, had about three very different films in my lifetime, two in the last eight years. Sure, none bombed but none were successful enough for a sequel either. But the response was, "we haven't gotten the Punisher right yet," not, "hey, I guess the Punisher doesn't sell," and certainly not, "hey, I guess male action leads don't sell."

    Of course Elektra and Catwoman are smaller properties than Superman, and they'll remain so for another sixty yearsif no one takes another shot at getting them right.

    You mention that Wonder Woman had a film in production. That's a stellar example of my point. Wonder Woman is one of the three most recognisable superheroes on the planet. She's not DC's third most popular character, but she's their third most iconic. The amount of merchandise she sells the world over is astronomical. She is, by any measure of market research, and untapped goldmine of sellability, from horny teens to geeky comic fans to little girls who love Princesses. And somehow, DC are incapable of getting this movie out of development hell even though it's been flittering around the edges for a decade.

    The point is that in the media, if a female lead fails, it's because she's a woman, if a male lead fails, it's not because he's male. It's an impossible double standard.
    Last edited by beccatoria, Dec 5, 2012
  8. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    I don't have time to read the whole Green Lantern conversation right this moment but I wanted to quickly get a very important point in that doesn't seem to have come up yet: worldwide, Elektra grossed $56 million, and cost $43 million. Green Lantern grossed about $220 million, and cost $200 million. Movie making is about profit margins as much as overall profits, and Elektra not only made a 30% profit to GL's 10%, but even in real numbers it netted $13 million to GL's $20 million--hardly a giant difference.

    I think the bigger point to be made there is that the male-led GL franchise is vastly more important to DC's still-theoretical cinematic universe than female-led Elektra could ever have been to Marvel's--and therefore was both deserving of a much larger initial budget, and after only minimal financial success, is now being given greater leeway in terms of warranting sequelization.

    Yes! Yet through the power of her strong-female-character-ness, she MAKES THAT **** WORK.

    And you just like that episode 'cause it's got the Starlight Intruder in it. :p
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Dec 5, 2012
  9. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Is this a call-back to my Zend reference from earlier, or is there actually a ship that looks like a Mobquet transport in that ep?
  10. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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  11. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Dude. Had no idea! That's the best thing I've seen all day (fair disclosure, I've only been up for 2 or 3 hrs).
  12. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    With regards to movie productions, profits aside, Hollywood studios do have very good information on just who their audiences are for their films, at least at the domestic box (worldwide is probably more nebulous). They track both gender, age, and probably race too (though only the first two regularly show up in 'Box office report' style columns). Movie marketing is targeted at specific demographics with very specific expectations in ways that are brutally loyal to the numbers and very much 'not PC.' That's simply the nature of the business. If there is any evidence that exploitation does better than diversity, or even the perception of the same among the studio Execs collectively, then that's what you are going to see produced.

    And that's what we are seeing: right now the most popular products geared towards a young female audience are Twilight and its various oncoming clones. That's unfortunate, but that's how it is.

    The only way to change this sort of thing is by changing viewing patterns. Obviously this is difficult, it's hard to find a blockbuster with a strong female lead that is decently written and produced to get behind. That's probably going to get worse. The modern entertainment universe is beset by fracturing, and instead of inclusion we get division of different demographic groups and fanbases and then they are each pandered to individually, sometimes almost in the same exact ways just with the roles reversed. There are Manix Pixie Dream Girls and Manic Pixie Dream Guys now. The big tent properties, of which Star Wars is one, are struggling with diversity issues instead and best solution anyone's hit on so far gender wise is universal exploitation - ie. beautiful people syndrome. From where I'm sitting, as a white male, that might be the best solution available, at least in the current media climate.
  13. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    I'm just glad that SW hasn't decided to cash in on the Twilight craze. I think I would want to become a serial killer, then.
  14. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

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    I disagree with this. Fracturing is exactly what will keep things in flux, which is what we want. There's absolutely no evidence the chance of seeing a strong female lead are "going to get worse." With more and more females taking charge of everything in the (American) workforce today, (American) movies are going to increasingly reflect this change.

    DON'T EVEN THINK IT.

    [IMG]
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  15. TrakNar Force Ghost

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  16. Darth Myon Jedi Knight

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    Nov 9, 2012
    this shouldn't matter right now in our society. White men are now the minority. (David Dukes)
  17. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    American movies marketed to women will increasingly show strong female leads, and there will be more movies so marketed, but in the market of movies directed towards young men fractioning will lead to less and less interest in a crossover market and thus even greater pandering to that specific audience, or indeed any specific audience. Further, until entertainment media moves to a new, vastly different business model from the current one, pandering will only increase as companies attempt to double-down on ever shrinking demographic groups that actually spend real money on physical products.

    To give an example: very recently in the anime industry, Aniplex USA released the Kara No Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners movies into the US market. Those movies are a set of high quality, but very artistically esoteric products. Aniplex USA chose to release a micro-run limited edition special box set with a price tag of $400 (for roughly seven hour length films and a bunch of extras). This price was so far out of line with the prevailing market the AnimeNewNetwork reviewer who reviewed the product described it as 'comical.' Guess what: Aniplex sold out that run.

    Welcome to a micro-targeted universe where products are increasingly pitched at pre-indentified niches. The largest demographic group in any fandom is liable to show increasing dominance and thus get increasing pandering. So, in the case of Star Wars, what's the population of hard-core EU-buing fans? Is it 60-40 male-female, 70-30? 75-25? I don't know but we are approaching a point where it won't matter, where pretty much anything above 50-50 will mean 100-0 as far as the production is concerned.

    Maybe this is a worst-case scenario, but it is the scenario that basically unfolded in the world of anime over the past 10 years. The United States is not Japan, but market forces are pretty global at this point.
  18. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    I think you mean David Duke. Y'know, this guy:

    [IMG]
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Dec 5, 2012
  19. Likewater Force Ghost

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    its hard to make the Anzati...protagonists, neutral parties may be but hardly protagonists. Besides don't sith fill the genreal black clothed baddies?
  20. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    No one will sparkle.

    DO YOU HEAR ME?!

    NO ONE!
  21. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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  22. TrakNar Force Ghost

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    Because it doesn't keep those damn kids off of my lawn.
  23. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    You know what'll keep kids off of your lawn?

    Velociraptors.
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  24. TrakNar Force Ghost

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  25. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    I thought it was a given that Episode 7 will involve a love triangle between Han and Leia's daughter, an Anzat and a Wookiee?